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How to Prepare Your School for "Generation Content" (because it's not just about millennials anymore)

How to Prepare Your School for Generation Content
Generation Content is connected. Savvy. Knowledge hungry. And they have high expectations of you.
Okay, okay. So “Generation Content” isn’t a thing. I’m talking about millennials. And even Gen Z. But the name Generation Content is quite fitting. Because whether you’re a small charter school, a centuries-old private school or a higher education institution, your current and prospective students belong to a generation that expects to find a huge amount of knowledge only a few clicks away.
They’re not going to just wonder what the answer to a question is. They’re going to Google it. It’s not just a bonus to be active on social media. They expect you to be there. They don’t want to wait for your annual viewbook to arrive on their doorstep. If they want to know who you are, they want to know NOW.
Sound dramatic? It’s not. Consider these stats:

  • 72% of high school students use social media to research schools.1
  • 70% of high school students say social media is a moderate to strong influence in their research.1
  • Among high school students, 77% think colleges should have a social media presence and 59% use social media when deciding where to enroll.1
  • 42% of high school students site news and updates from a school as a major influence in their decision to enroll there; another 47% say it had some influence on them.1
  • The average Millennial spends approximately 5.4 hours per day on user-generated content (social media posts, photos, blogs, email, texting and talking to others about media).2
  • In a recent survey, 100% of Gen Zers reported being online at least one hour each day, and 46% report their time spent online as 10+ hours.3
  • Gen Z tends to be more self-directed and frequently looks for answers and inspiration via the internet.4
  • Education is already important to Gen Z, and estimates show that 1 in 2 will be college educated (contrast that with 1 in 3 Millennials and 1 in 4 Gen Xers).4
  • 41% of Gen Zers spend more than three hours a day on their computers for activities not related to schoolwork.4
  • 81% of teens use some type of social network.4

The most important takeaway from all those statistics? If you’re not contributing to the conversation, you’re going to be forgotten—if you’re even noticed in the first place. Are you prepared for everything this generation expects of you?
Here’s how to get in with millennials and Zers in a way that makes an impact:

Give them access to the info they want where they want it…

  • Monitor trends in social media use for your demographic.
  • Pay attention to your analytics to see what’s driving existing traffic and what content is most popular.
  • Tailor your content to your audience and the platform they live on.

…by asking them what they prefer,…

  • Create a short survey to ask current & prospective students about their internet use and content consumption.
  • Ask for feedback at the end of blog posts, videos, webinars, newsletters, etc.
  • Use social media to ask specific questions that will inform your approach.

…then let them help produce the content…

  • Involve students in video production, blog post writing, podcasts, etc.
  • Create social media contests that involve students on and off campus.
  • Leverage content created in classes, clubs and other student-based organizations.

…and include them in the ongoing process.

  • Pay attention to comments and other feedback on existing content.
  • Add students to your blog editorial board or hold special meetings with your content marketing team that includes students.
  • Create a form on your website or blog where students can submit questions or content ideas.

The generations that expect content are already walking your halls and looking at your school. The conversations about you are already happening— whether or not you’re currently contributing to them. The only question is, are you giving Generation Content what they want, or giving them a reason to pass you by?
For more great stats and resources on education content marketing, check out our Pinterest board. Ready to make your presence known to millennials and Gen Zers alike? Contact us to discuss your content marketing challenges.
1Source, 2Source, 3Source, 4Source


Tell us what you think, or ask us any questions. We’re here to help!

  • Great article and right on target. This is strategic and smart marketing. I think the key challenge for any institution is moving away from the old mindset of outbound tactics to these inbound ones. After all, we’re marketing to an audience more receptive to inbound tactics and those that recognize the shift will reap the rewards.

    Keith Knowles - October 24, 2014 at 9:50 am
  • Great point, Keith! The hardest part is making that shift in mindset as you mentioned, but hopefully the stats show those with a traditional mindset what an incredible position they’re in to be successful with an inbound approach. It’s incredible.

    Stacy Firth - October 24, 2014 at 10:38 am

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